Top positive review
Winner over the new Galaxy Watch for me
Reviewed in the United States on September 30, 2018
I've been wanting a smart watch for a while now and finally decided to pull the trigger. My biggest criterion were that it had to be reasonably sized, reasonably priced, have GPS, and be able to have offline maps. I really liked the look of the Gear S3 Frontier and the Galaxy watches (let's be real - the new 42mm Galaxy watch in black is basically the Frontier's little brother), and I LOVE the rotating bezel.
I tried out both the S3 Frontier and the Galaxy watch and came to the following conclusions.
1) Look - the style of both watches are very similar (which you can see from the product photos).
2) Size - the 46mm Frontier watch is obviously larger than the 42mm Galaxy. The watch band on the Frontier is thicker and has a slightly wider style that made it look larger than it actually is. I ended up buying a smaller band similar to the style on the Galaxy to remedy this. For me, the 42mm Galaxy wins on size. The screen was only slightly smaller, but the watch as a whole was much smaller (as you can see from my comparison pictures). The thickness of the two watches is about the same.
3) Rotating Bezel - I found the bezel on the Frontier was easier for me to use. It's slightly taller than the one on the Galaxy, and the notches on the side are bigger. The Galaxy bezel fit into the face of the watch a bit more smoothly, so you have to rotate it from the top of the watch, whereas on the Frontier you can rotate it from the side or top.
4) Navigation - navigation through the different widgets and apps was very intuitive on both watches. You can use the bezel or touchscreen to move through items, and the two buttons on the side to select and navigate.
5) Maps - ultimately this was the item that tipped the scale in favor of the Frontier for me. There's an app you can download called HERE WeGo which provides directions from your location to your destination. Very similar to how Google Maps works. However, it also supports an offline functionality where you can download maps of an area (state / province / etc.) so you have them available without being connected to your phone. The downside to this is that it doesn't have a satellite or topographic view, but I tested it out locally and the trails I took were all on there. So if I go hiking somewhere and get lost, I have a general idea of where I am - I can see it on the map. When I tested HERE WeGo on the new Galaxy watch it doesn't function unless you're connected to the phone, because you can't download offline maps to the Galaxy. I checked with their support team and they said they will consider it for the future (but that doesn't help me now).
Ultimately I ended up keeping the S3 Frontier and returning the Galaxy. The Galaxy won on size and waterproof rating, but I just couldn't justify spending almost double on the Galaxy when it wouldn't meet one of my biggest criterion (the offline maps). It's no Suunto or Garmin or Casio, but for the price point it meets my needs as a GPS watch.